If you have visited a mountain town in the last few years, you may have noticed that fat bikes are steadily growing in popularity. More than ever, riders are taking to the snowy roads and trails, adding another outdoor hobby to their list.
I have picked up mountain biking over the past few summers, and love that fat biking allows for year round riding and an additional winter activity when the skiing is subpar. Some riders are even ditching their regular mountain bikes, for the all terrain riding and stability that the wider tires offers. The beefy tires can run at low pressure to allow riding on soft unstable terrain, such as snow, sand, or mud, but also operate as a great one-bike-fits-all option for all-season, all-terrain riding.
Though I don't have a fatbike of my own, yet, I’m lucky to live in a bike friendly community and have had the chance to get my hands on one a time or two. Still, when the opportunity to bike the Blueberry Hill trails in Elizabethtown came up, I jumped on it. It’s a place I had never ridden but has certainly been on the list.
I was so happy when my friend Tatyana, a fellow Adirondack transplant and biking extraordinaire, agreed to come ride the Blueberry Hill trails with me. We stopped at High Peaks Cyclery, which rents a great fleet of Salsa Cycles Fat bikes. The staff got us all set up with our bikes, and we were headed to Elizabethtown in no time.
Like all good outdoor adventures, we started our day with food.
Mountain Mama’s Bakery and Cafe is a new and welcomed addition to Elizabethtown. A variety of grab-and-go salads and sandwiches, an array of from-scratch baked goods, and fresh out of the oven quiches and pot pies, made for a hard decision when it was time to order. The cafe was homey and shared a space with a flower shop. Owner and chef, Lana Roeser, happily prepared our food then chatted with us while we ate.
We learned about her training at the Culinary Institute of America and experience serving on the 1984 NYC Olympic Culinary team in Frankfurt, Germany. We swapped stories about life in the restaurant industry and living in the Adirondacks. Feeling quite at home, I think we could have stayed and talked all day, but Lana had food to prep and Tatyana and I had bikes to ride. Next time you find yourself in the Lake Champlain Region, I highly recommend stopping in for breakfast or lunch.
Blueberry Hill Trails
Just a short ride out of town, we arrived at the trails. The Blueberry Hill trail system links 30 different trails offering a good amount of riding. The trails were built for hiking, snowshoeing, mountain biking, horseback riding, skiing, and snowmobiling, so they are a bit wider compared to the single track riding you find in most areas of the Adirondacks. Offering rewarding views along the way, including a great view of the Giant Mountain Wilderness, the Blueberry Hill trails are a must-see, regardles of your outdoor activity.
When it comes to fat biking, finding firm, groomed, trails make for a far better riding experience. The Blueberry Hill trails are regularly groomed, but with a few inches of fresh snow that morning, the trails offered a hard slow climb, and a fun, slightly out of control, descent. Whenever I go for a winter ride on a fat bike, I feel the seriousness of mountain biking tends to fade, and I return to my childlike attitude of playing in the snow, falling without fear, and riding bikes for the pure joy of it. Tatyana and I had a full day of riding, falling, and plenty of laughing.
Whether you’re an avid biker or not, if you’re heading to the Lake Champlain Region this season I highly recommend renting a fat bike and hitting the trails!
This week in related ADK news: